Tag Archives: PAKISTAN

PAKISTAN: WAILING EYES ,IMPALED INNOCENCE & FRENZIED BIGOTRY !

The birth of Bangladesh on 16 December 71 debunked the “two-nation” theory and questioned the rationale for the creation of Pakistan. 43 years to the day, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) massacred 132 children in Peshawar and painfully drove the final nail in Jinnah’s theory. For the dead, the Pakistani establishment had a lot to answer for. And for those who survived, it was their burden to live with scarred and impaled innocence.

16 December 14; six heavily armed TTP terrorists, wearing Frontier Corps uniforms and suicide vests, entered the Army Public School and Degree College (APS) in Peshawar and killed young and innocent children. Those who hid or played dead were pulled out and shot. The Principal was burnt alive. For 8 hours the defenceless children were at the mercy of these butchers.

Who were these fanatics who tore apart the last remaining vestige of civility in Pakistan? The answer to this question encompasses all aspects of Pakistan’s unfortunate 67 year existence.

Pakistan was formed on the basis of the theory that the Muslims of the sub-continent are a different nation. The religious and fundamentalist elements thus wanted Islam as the bedrock of the society whereas Jinnah had a moderate and modernist vision for Pakistan. The break up with East Pakistan in 1971 allowed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to become Prime Minister and a need was felt to cement the State together with an Islamic glue. Pakistan was thus declared an Islamic Republic. Radicalisation had thus been given a semiofficial stamp of approval.

Once Gneral Zia-ul-Haq came to power he embarked on the “Islamisation of Pakistan” to ensure that the Nation gained preeminence amongst Islamic nations and achieve international prominence.

He established Sharia Courts, declared certain muslim sects as unislamic, made Arabic and Islamiat studies compulsory in schools and professional institutes, established a Shoora Council to replace the National Assembly, introduced Islamist punishments by briging in the “Hadood Ordinance”, Nizam-e-salaat was started to ensure regularity of prayers, Madrasas (religious seminaries) and mosques grew in numbers, punishment for blasphemy was changed to death and the last bastion of rationality- the Army- too was brought under this “Islamisation” by encouraging religiosity amongst all ranks.

The Islamisation was now complete!

In the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Pakistan in cahoots with the US, created and armed the Mujahideens (The soldiers of God) who would wage Jehad (holy war) against the Soviets. This led to an influx of refugees from Afghanistan and an unprecedented weaponisation of the tribal areas. The holy war also led to a renewed wave of radicalization in the name of Islam.

The Taliban were created to ensure that a pliant dispensation filled the void left by the Soviets and cemented the concept of non-state actors as a National Security Strategy. Afghanistan was taken over by the Taliban and had it not been for the 9/11 attacks they would have still been in power. Through them Pakistan was able to achieve its strategic depth in Afghanistan.

Post 9/11, Pakistan replicated its earlier efforts to retain toehold in Afghanistan.While supporting ISAF actions,it also allowed safe sanctuary and provided patronage to the Taliban and the al Qaeda and established the concept of “good Taliban” and “bad Taliban” to suit its requirement of selectively acting against these elements – based on the level of usefulness of these groups. This concept applied to other non-state organisations like the Lashkar-e-Taiybba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) directed against India and the anti Shia Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahiba.

In 2007, disparate Jehadi groups fighting the US came under one umbrella and established the TTP under their leader Baitullah Mehsud and later Hakimullah Mehsud. TTP targeted the ISAF and did not bother the Pakistani Army or State and was a safe investment for a post US scenario as well. However, once under Mullah Fazlullah, the TTP perceived the Pakistani State as siding with the infidels in allowing drone attacks and “rendition” of Jehadi leaders to the US.

Now for the first time the TTP turned against the Pakistani State and established its writ over large swathes of the restive tribal areas.Pakistan was now finally confronting the hydra headed monster that it had created.

The TTP meanwhile bombed markets and mosques, attacked the General Head Quarters in Rawalpindi in 2009 , the Mehran Naval Base in 2011, Wagah Border Crossing in 2014, KarachI Airport in 2014 and in between (according to the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack -GCPEA) attacked 838 schools and killed 30 children and injured 97 others between 2009 ans 2012 including Malal Yusufzai.

The Pakistan Army finally launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb against the TTP and registered considerable gains, yet it did not act against the likes of Jehadi groups such as the Haqqani Network and the anti India LeT and JeM. The establishment had yet to learn its lessons about playing with fire and raising snakes in your own courtyard.

On 16 December 14, the TTP facing the heat in the operations, attacked the innocent and unsuspecting children of APS, Peshawar. This bestiality exposed the true face of these bigots and fanatics and also the bankruptcy of Pakistan’s belief in raising and harbouring such Jehadi groups.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, a shell shocked Pakistan Prime Minister,Nawaz Sharif, announced that the operations against the TTP shall be escalated. The Army Chief, General Raheel Sharif rushed to Kabul to meet the ISAF Head General Joseph Dunford and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to provide evidence of the APS attack being controlled from Afghanistan and to ask Afghanistan to hand over Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Chief Mullah Fazlullah.

Now all this was eerily similar to the Indian reactions and demands made on Pakistan in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai Attacks which killed almost 200 innocents and on which Pakistan is yet to act.

Till now an unmindful Pakistani Establishment heartlessly ignored the wailing eyes of its citizen and raised “snakes and monsters” to attack its neighbours while turning a blind eye to what these organisations were inflicting on its citizenry and the society. Until the snake turned around and bit the children of Pakistan.

Years of Islamisation cannot be undone by either lifting the moratorium on the death penalty or by ordering even more sustained operations. But to reach there it has to take small yet resolute steps such as not differentiating between the Jehadis for its misplaced strategic aims and by demonstrating willingness to dismantle anti India terrorist set up. Its most crucial test will be its ability to act against the perpetrators of 26/11 such as Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and Hafiz Saeed.Pakistan will gradually have to undo all measures initiated by Zia ul Haq and embrace modernity and moderate politics

Is Pakistan willing to bite the bullet and once and for all give up on the faulty premise on which it invested in these Jehadi and sectarian organiations?

If not, Pakistan should brace up for a re-enactment of the bloodbath at Peshawar and this time it will only be worse, and I shudder to think of what really can be worse than shooting 132 school children !

The Amul Ad depicts the children of APS, Peshawar in their uniforms.The children have a wary expression and the elder amongst them, along with the Amul Girl,have been shown as guiding them.

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The Tag LineHumein khilne do…padhne do…udne do..badhne do…means that the children are requesting the various takeholders to spare them atleast and allow them to blossom, study,soar high and grow…

…all of which was denied to the innocent victims of Peshawar !

12 January 15; Peshawar school reopens;The ill fated APS,Peshawar reopened  today after being renovated in the wake of the terrorist attack. Pakistan’s Army Chief was present at the school to welcome back the children and to send a reassuring message to the people .

The swift reopening and the children resuming their normal routine is a sign of the resolve to bounce back from the tragedy and also a subtle but defiant message to the Taliban.

The psychological impact on the children however will be life long and hope they get the required help to get over those ghastly scenes and the loss of the friends they will never ever meet again.Hats off to their courage and hoping their rulers demonstrate the same resolve in shunning the terror groups who have brought Pakistan to its knees.

 

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MODI IN SIACHEN: BETWEEN MANTO AND A HOT DIWALI ROCKET !

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated Diwali with the Indian Army soldiers in Siachen, it captured the nation’s imagination. On the back of resounding election victories and a successful US visit this was a political “masterstroke” which was bound to bolster his political star.

At 5 AM on 24th October, there was a desperate knock on the bed room door of Nawaz Sharif. It was the Pakistan Army Chief, Raheel Sharif. He informed a bemused Nawaz that Modi was on his way to Siachen and that Pakistan HAD to respond at all costs. And that too soon.

Still wearing his pink coloured polka dotted night suit, Nawaz Sharif was bundled into a chopper heading to the Pakistan side of the Saltoro Ridge which houses the Siachen Glacier.As Modi was reportedly wearing two jackets in the icy heights, the Pakistan Army thought their PM would look “macho” without wearing even one !!!

Without a jacket, Nawaz Sharif developed delirium and started praising Modi for his adroit sense of politics and shouted that “Pakistan mein bhi Modi Sarkar” !!!! Fearing embarrassment, the Pakistan Army chopper was ordered to abort mission!

Modi’s surprise visit to the “world’s highest battlefield” had claimed its first unintended victim.

The Indian PM was to initially mark Diwali in flood hit Srinagar in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). Intending to send across a message he also added Siachen to his itenary. This was to be the first visit in a decade by an Indian PM to Siachen Glacier (which in Balti means ” Land with an abundance of roses”; an irony indeed )During the visit to the glacier he flew over the Indian Army positions,visited the Base Camp,addressed the troops as well as interacted with them over a cup of tea.

Modi expressed solidarity with the soldiers and conveyed to them the Nation’s gratitude for the sacrifices of the Indian Army. He also commended the Army’s rescue effort during the recent floods in Kashmir and assured that prickly and emotive issues such as modernization, One Rank One Pension and a National War Memorial will be addressed satisfactorily.

The sub text of the visit was also unmistakable as the PM was visiting a difficult battle zone in the backdrop of his decisive and firm response to Pakistan’s trans LC firing. And with a strategic connivance of China and Pakistan converging in Kashmir, his visit held massive significance.

By now the opposition had woken up to the news of the latest Modi manouevre. Dear ol’ “Pappu” was confused as to why was Modi visiting Siachen on Halloween and claiming it was Diwali ??? Halloween???Someone quickly went an placed an earthen pot on his head lest he called a press conference to “expose” facts which would decimate his Indian National Congress (INC) to the extent that all its members would only be acting in Ram Leela for the next few decades or so. Pappu of course would struggle to get the role of even a tree in the “Ashok Vatika”!

Modi was also visiting Srinagar and this gave the opposition a whiff of a chance to get back into the “game”.Spokespersons and leaders such as Rashid Alvi (Congress),Anwar Ali (JDU), Tariq Anwar insinuated that Modi’s real intent in going to Srinagar was to further his Party’s prospects in the upcoming elections in J&K. Irrespective of the truth, not one demonstrated neither compassion for the flood victims nor solidarity with the soldiers. All that mattered was “the Party line”. For this unbridled buffoonery all  of them have qualified for an all-expenses paid 9 nights and 10 days on Bana Top, a post at 22000 ft! Of course without jackets !

The Amul Ad/ topical on Narendra Modi’s Siachen visit is based on a photo of the PM during his  visit, wherein he is depicted as seated and patting a dog with the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Dalbir Singh Suhag and another officer are present in the background.A smiling Amul Girl is shown as the dog handler. The detailing is good as the characters are identifiable by their attire during the actual event.

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The Tag LineSiachen Jahan Se Achchais a take on the popular patriotic Urdu poem “Saare Jahan se achcha Hindustan Hamara” by Muhammad Iqbal (also known as Allama Iqbal) and conveys Modi’s intent in celebrating Diwali in Siachen rather than any other place in the world. Ironically the creators have chosen a tag line to depict Siachen – a battle zone between India and Pakistan – from the works of a poet who was later the ideologue behind the idea of Pakistan. (Iqbal composed this poem as the Taranah -e- Hind in 1904 and his transformation from a secular poet to an ideologue of a future Muslim society was complete when in 1910 he composed the Taranah -e-Milli ,an ode to the greatness of Islam).

The Punch LineTop of the worldsignifies the giddy heights at Siachen and relates it to the status of Amul Butter as being on top of its trade!

There’s been much speculation about whether the dog with Modi depicted was a adopted stray or a trained canine serving alongside the troops? It reminds me of Sadat Hasan Manto’s short story “The Dog of Tithwal” wherein the Indian and Pakistani troops name the same stray dog as “Jhun Jhun” and “Shun Shun” respectively. And to underscore the situation of the time the dog is expected to choose nationalities.It later loses its life when he is shot at by both sides.

To lift the veil, the dog in the strip is named Deva and it’s a Great Swiss Mountain Dog serving as a combatant with an Indian Army Dog Unit and is trained for Avalanche Rescue Operations.

Its important for us all to realize that Siachen is one of the key national efforts and the PM’s visit has gone a long way in endorsing the fact. Some columnist have also observed that Modi has re-established the “institutional relevance of the military” in nation building. His visit endorses the Government’s commitment towards defence related issues, be they operational or administrative in nature.

Modi’s visit was like a well-made Diwali rocket which had the intended effect its fired for – loud and spectacular. Its just that some in the opposition felt its hot end finding its mark on them !!!

After having walked to the Base Camp the onus is on Modi to walk the talk.He will need to back his words with deeds and resist the temptation to use the military as an expedient for his political agenda.Genuine or rhetorical – the true import of his actions will emerge as time goes by. Mr Modi, history and the thousands of families who have given martyrs to this country are watching you intently.Fail at your peril !

Meanwhile, taking a leaf out of Modi’s book, Mulayam Singh Yadav has decided to express solidarity with “his” troops over Christmas.He is visiting the buffaloes in his native Saifai !!!

 

NOW SERVING – SHAKESPEAREAN OMELETTE WITH INDIAN CHUTZPAH !

A successful director, a yet-to-prove-himself actor & a Kashmiri journalist as the script writer along with generous support from Shakespeare, have combined to create a critically acclaimed but controversial Bollywood flick – “Haider”.

“Haider” is an adaptation of the Shakespearean classic- Hamlet. Set in the militancy ridden Kashmir of the 1990s the plot has betrayal, love and revenge intricately woven together. Adapting it to Kashmir in a particular period is a challenge well met. Revolving around the revenge that the wronged son seeks for his father’s betrayal and death, from his uncle, the lead characters Shahid Kapoor (Hamlet), Tabu (Queen Gertrude), KK Menon (Uncle Claudius), Irrfan Khan (Ghost), Shraddha Kapoor (Ophelia) have rendered power packed and committed performances. The ability of Vishal Bharadwaj,the Director, to get the best out of the cast is amply showcased as well.

It’s a satisfying finale for Bharadwaj, as with “Haider”, he has successfully (commercially as well) completed his Triology on Shakespearean plays – Maqbool (Macbeth) & Omkara (Othello) being the other two.

“Haider” portrays the rigours of daily life in a strife torn Kashmir way back in the 90s.Its setting and the depiction of the Indian Army’s (IA) role in the conflict in light of the sequence of the destruction of the house while smoking out militants, alleged custodial disappearances as also the supposed torture methods has tended to portray the Army in a negative and controversial shade by the script writer,Basharat Peer.

Some have even lamented that the Indian government “imposed 41 cuts” on “Haider”, through the censor board. Well, 35 of those have been imposed by Bharadwaj himself for getting the length right!

I think the next project that these India baiters and conscience keepers should take up can be a flick on the strife torn areas under the Islamic State (IS), where they will be filming as embedded journalists (without bullet proof jackets- BPJs) and depicting the barbaric nature of the IS fighters and their excesses. The IS has kindly consented not to cut the film short through its censor board (unlike the Indian government!). Instead they have decided to cut a head from the production unit each time they find something objectionable. So, Basharat, Vishal & Shahid would you like to take this on? No censor board.Liberal enough, right?

And why no BPJs? Because the IS made up its own deficiency – so to hell with the film unit!

Okay I made a difficult offer. Why not film in Swat on the dangerous liaison between the ISI and the Taliban. An issue worth taking up( like the supposed excesses of the IA). FYI, Geo TV tried this and their license was withdrawn and offices ransacked ! So, game for it? No?…..Why? After all no censor board, just the Taliban and the ISI…AND YOUR LUCK!

By the way a word about the Pakistan Censor Board. They banned Ranjhana as it showed a love story between a Muslim girl and a Hindu boy (?)! Then they banned Khiladi 786 as the use of the number could hurt religious sentiments (??). Banned Chennai Express as it was against the business interests of the Pakistani film industry (???). And also Agent Vinod because…wait…well that wasn’t way off the target and their Indian counterparts should have done it for the sheer torture it inflicted on the audience!!!

I have a few themes in mind too.

To begin with, an Indianised Charlies Angels as “Subramaniam Swamy’s Angels” starring Jaylalita, “Madame ” Gandhi and our very own Mr Kejriwal.

Then “The Wolf of Raisina Hill” directed by Kapil Sibal designed to expose the guile and cunning of one man who has jettisoned the Grand Old Party into outer space.

Adaptation of “Hum aapke hain kaun” to have a climax in which the dog (as in the original) entrusted with handing over the letter of support from the Shiv Sena (Madhuri Dixit) to the BJP (Salman Khan) mistakenly hands it over to the NCP (Monish Behl).Unlike the original there would be no union between Madhuri & Salman but Monish will do all he can to keep Salman away …oops..confusion…to keep the Shiv Sena away!!!

Not too sure if these will pass the Censor scrutiny though.

The Amul ad/ topical on the movie Haider depicts a scene from the movie with a caricature depicting Shahid Kapoor’s character sitting in the snow with the Amul Girl filling in for Shraddha Kapoor’s character. The detailing is good with the protagonists being shown in the same attire as in the movie complete with the chequered kurtas ,the pink scarf, the umbrella and the facial resemblance.

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The Tag Line….Try with Haider Bread or Rotiis clever play on the ubiquitous acceptability of the Amul butter with any kind of bread or roti (flat bread)as well as on the name of the movie itself.

The Punch Line.. A Modern Day Classicis a subtle way of showcasing the quality of the Amul butter by using the expression that can best describe the cinematic effort that went into creating a critically acclaimed movie.

Lastly, to those who have felt aggrieved at the negative depiction of the IA, be rest assured it’s an institution with intrinsic strength and cannot be swayed by its depiction in a movie. The IA’s actions are there to speak for itself. It is one of the few armies which has not hesitated in taking the harshest actions against its own in order to right a wrong. In a conflict there are many situations when shades of grey emerge, but over time the IA has been able to discern through these too and made sure that its impartial and just image and ethics are upheld at all times.

By the way, the Lion King too was an adaptation of the “Hamlet” (Simba=Hamlet & Scar = evil uncle) and Lion King II…an adaptation of “Romeo & Juliet“!

Shakespearean omelettes always taste good and to make them better add some Chutzpah…yes you can..in India.Other places?Well…they may shoot first and that too to kill !!!

POST SCRIPT

3rd February 2015;In the recently announced 60th Filmfare Awards 2015 winners list saw the Bollywood movies ‘Queen’ and ‘Haider’ sweeping the field with a whopping six and five awards respectivley.

The Amul ad/topical on the Filmfare Awards shows the Amul Girl with the runaway winners of this year’s edition.It shows two caricatures depicting Shahid Kapoor in a tuxedo as he wore on the awards night and Kangana Ranaut in her famous “girl-next-door” attire in the movie “Queen”.They are both shown holding the “black lady” which they have won for the Best Actor and Best Actress roles respectively.

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The Tag Line is in the form of call out boxes with the Amul Girl making an overt attempt to let the readers know about the identity of winners in terms of the movies and the actors themselves.They translate into “Haider-tea is here” and “Kangana-have a bun”.

The Punch Line…Always in a Leading Roleis a take on the awards won by Shaid and Kangana for their leading rooles in the two movies  discussed above and once again subtly promotes the leading status of Amul Butter and the brand in general.

Queen is a 2014 Bollywood comedy-drama starring Kangana Ranaut and Lisa Haydon and Rajkumar Rao in supporting roles. It is directed by Vikas Bahl and produced by Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane.

The plot revolves around Kangana playing the lead role as Rani, an under-confident girl who suffers as her fiancee calls off the wedding at the last moment.Shocked and hurt,Rani decides to proceed alone on her pre-arranged honeymoon.Here she rediscovers herself in the company of staranger.She eventually returns with her fears conquered and inner demons exorcised for good.The fiancee ,Vijay, also learns his lessons when he attempts to make amends.

The movie premiered at the Busan International Film Festival,had received wide critical acclaim for its unique story line,writing,direction and Kangana’s performance.Produced at a cost of Rs 12.5 crores it earned Rs 98 crores at the box office.Previously nominated in 13 categories at the Screen Awards it won three of them including Best Film and Best Director.At the Filmafare Awards 2015 the movie won six including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress for Kangana Ranaut,Best Editing, Best Cinematography and Best Background Score.

‘Haider’ was a close second with five awards including Best Actor for Shahid Kapoor , Best Actor in Supporting Role (Female) for Tabu, Best Actor in Supporting Role (Male) for KK Menon and also for Best Costume and Best Production Design.

The Filmfare Awards are the Oscar Awards equivalent for Bollywood and have had its share of controversies and ups and downs.These have been attacked for their poor or biased choices in the past but off late have been able to make justified choices more often than not.

A SLIVER OF PEACE, SOME SMILES & A FEW CHUNKS OF CONTROVERSY !

Amidst a recent conflagration at the Line of Control (LOC) between India & Pakistan, Kailash Satyarthi (India) & Malala Yusufzai (Pakistan) were declared the joint recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014.Coincidence?Agenda Based? There’s enough intrigue associated with the Nobel Prize & surprisingly & there’s enough to make us smile too!

In 2012, Malala was shot in the head for championing the cause of education for girls & for defying the Taliban in Pakistan’s restive Swat region. She miraculously recovered in a hospital in Birmingham. Embodying strength & belief she went back to school & once again fearlessly stood up for her espoused cause.She has since addressed the UN, met Barak Obama & gained access to those who can make a difference. The Peace Prize was awarded to her in recognition of her work & the indomitable spirit of the 17 year old.

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An erstwhile electrical engineer, Kailash Satyarthi was chosen for the award for his work in securing child rights & fight against child labour. He has rehabilitated thousands through his NGO,Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) & has received numerous awards from various countries. Interestingly,for the Peace Prize he was nominated by the European Parliament & is yet to receive any official recognition for his work by the Government of India.Instead it has been reported that he is a “persona non grata” for some sections of the Indian officialdom-  as his stance supposedly hurts Indian industry.Narendra Modi has felicitated him after the announcement of the Peace Prize.

Controversially,incidents relating to children being tutored to falsely speak about their alleged bondage have been cited to disprove the Mr Satyarthi’s credentials as a genuine choice for the Peace Prize & the the Nobel Committee has been accused of bias & favouring NGOs affiliated to western countries.

Even the Nobel Committee’s statement that “It is an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism,” was criticised for hyphenating two unrelated issues & painting it in a religious hue. This was seen as “Christian Missionary Mischief” by Madhu Kishwar (as reported in the Global Post).

The timing of the announcement itself was interesting as it coincided with heightened confrontations between India & Pakistan.

Even earlier,the Nobel Peace Prize has occasionally raked up controversies. Henry Kissinger’s selection for his role in bringing an end to the Vietnam conflict was roundly criticised & his credentials as a war monger forced some Noble Committee members to resign.Then in 1994 Yasser Arafat shared the honours along with Israel’s Shimon Peres & Yitzhak Rabin & it was denounced globally for his terrorist credentials.

Mahatma Gandhi was nominated thrice for the Peace Prize but never received it. Quoting Wikipedia Gandhi could do without the Nobel Peace prize. Whether Nobel committee can do without Gandhi is the question?”. And this cannot be undone as posthumous nominations are not made.

Another controversial rule stipulate that a Nobel Prize can only be shared by three individuals; sometimes only three in a team have been chosen thus raising heckles all around.

I need a comic relief now.

Did you know there are “Ig Nobel” awards as well to “honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.”(Improbable Research).Some of the top winners are covered here on.All of these have later proven to have significant scientific utility beyond the obvious.

2000- The British Royal Navy “for ordering its sailors to stop using live cannon shells, and to instead just shout “Bang!” (After the government drastically cut military budgets.)

2003- W. Moeliker’s 2003 inquiry into the existence of homosexual necrophiliac ducks.

2007- USAF researchers at Wright Laboratory in Dayton, were working on : the “gay bomb.” ! To compel enemy soldiers to make mad, passionate love to each other instead of fighting a battle .(USAF reps did not attend the award ceremony & mercifully did not bomb the venue with the deadly aphrodisiac!!!).

2008 – study determining that lap dancers ear­n higher tips while ovulation.

2009for inventing “a brassiere that is converted into a pair of protective face masks”!

Coming to the Amul Ad/ topical on Malala Yusufzai and Kailash Satyarthi.It depicts the two joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, seated side by side with the Amul girl holding the medals.The caricatures are seen in the attire associated with Mr Satyarthi & Ms Malala.The rostrum, the arch way & the “peace” dove with the olive branch rounds up the ad in a subtle manner.

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The Tag Line..Satyartea aur Maskala …is a take on the names of the two winners & otherwise alluding to having a toast with Amul butter as a tea time snack.

The Punch Line…Noble Piece Prize..is a spin on the award conferred on Mr Satyarthi & Ms Malala as well as endorsing the Amul butter as the claimant for the noblest piece amongst all butter brands.

Malala’s struggles have been celebrated previously in an Amul ad in October 2013 while also marking the occasion of the release of her autobiography “I am Malala”.

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The Nobel Prize signifies the highest honour that can be bestowed on an individual in the designated fields.Since there are so many claimants for the honours, the Nobel Committee does have an onerous task in remaining totally objective.And its creditable that it has remained above board mostly.To say that the Nobel is spiked with vested interest is to denigrate the legacy of the extraordinary men already feted by its awards.Also it is undeniable that at times the Peace Prize has been awarded or not awarded out of overbearing political interests.

The bottom line is that the legacy of these awards is ever enduring & most importantly it brings the spotlight on issues which merit attention & spurs others to follow & make efforts to make this a better & more knowledgeable place for us all.For us Indians however ,its a matter of pride that beginning with Rabindra Nath Tagore , eight other Indians (including Mother Teresa) have been honoured by the Nobel Committee & cover all categories of the Nobel!

In the end-I wonder if the following will find a place in the list of “Ig Noble” awards

Effect of knuckle cracking on the mental balance of Pervez Musharraf (for his recent ballyhoo on India-Pakistan dynamics).

10 December 2014,Oslo

Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yusufzai  today received the Nobel  Peace Prize for their pioneering work in promoting child rights in the Indian Subcontinent.It was awarded to them by the Chairman of the Nobel Committee Thorbjorn  Jagland in Oslo today.They received received the Nobel Medal which is 18 carat green gold plated with 24 carat gold and weighs around 175 gms. 

Both recipients addressed the gathering which included King Harold V of Norway and former Pakistan PM  Yusuf Raza Gilani. President Barak Obama also congratulated the winning duo.

MARS ORBITER MISSION: MANGALYAAN AND THE FOURTH ROCK FROM THE SUN !

Everyone sat anxious and tense, at the Mission Operations Complex-2 (MOX-2), the nerve centre of India’s Mars mission.There was just one question on everybody’s mind: Will it happen?When Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K. Radhakrishnan nodded calmly,the gesture made it official. At 7.59 a.m. on 24th September 2014, India had accomplished a gigantic feat of putting a spacecraft in orbit around Mars in its first attempt.

The space odyssey of the “Mangalyaan” (Mars Orbiter Mission – MOM) commenced on 5th November 2013 when it set out on its journey to Mars onto an indigenous and improved PSLV-C25. It would travel 78 crore kilometers in a 300 days journey towards the Red Planet for its eventual date with destiny.On the anointed day the LAM engines & the thrusters roared into life and placed Mangalyaan in the Martian Orbit.

The entire project cost USD 74 Million (Rupess 450 crores) (Hollywood flick “Gravity” cost USD 900 Million).This is the cheapest ever inter planetary space mission.The improved PSLV-C25, LAM engines, the AOCS thrusters, Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser (MENCA),Gyroscopes & Accelerometers are some of the critical components designed & manufactured indigenously in India. ISRO is the fourth space agency after the Russians,NASA & the ESA to reach Mars & the first to do it right in its first attempt.India & the USA are now in an agreement to share the findings of the mission with NASA.

Such a feat will always attract acolytes & detractors alike.Its the latter which keep me in business!

New York Times (NYTimes/ NYT) published a cartoon showing members of the Elite Space Club reading a newspaper with a headline about India’s Mars mission. They appear unhappy with a seemingly impoverished Indian man dressed in a a turban,with a cow,knocking at their door.This is a self goal by NYT. The caricature has nothing to do with contemporary realities & it failed to register the fact that no other country has managed to enter Martian orbit in its first attempt & that NASA is relying upon “Mangalyaan” to improve upon the findings of its ultra expensive “Curiosity” or “Maven”.

In case ISRO is succesful in launching a cow,a certain Lalu Prasad Yadav is already working on the contract to supply fodder on Mars.May God -or Martians- save the cows & the fodder!!!

Incidentally, the Chinese are still looking for their Mars bound “Yinghuo 1” in the Pacific & the Japanese “Nozomi” is declared lost as it could not place itself in orbit around the planet!

The ruling BJP has gone gung ho with the launch & trumpeted it as the biggest success of the Modi Government.They are  now hopeful of reaching an agreement atleast with the Martians on seat sharing arrangements for any elections taking place on Mars!

Some of the Congressmen are upset at missing out on a Golden opportunity.Realising only now that this was a one way mission they are ruing their chances of not convincing Rahul Gandhi aka Pappu to undertake a Martian tour for championing women empowerment on Mars!

One Arvind Kejriwal has demanded that amongst the many probes in the spacecraft which one is probing corruption on Mars?On being answered in the negative he has claimed this to be a sign that the NDA Government is not serious about tackling corruption (??)! He is demanding that ISRO send him to Mars so he can sit on a Dharna & protest!

The al Qaeda isnt happy with this Indian achievement & they have asked Hafeez Saeed to send suicide bombers after Mangalyaan.Not to be out done, the Islamic State has in a recent interview to some western news channel ordered the beheading of Mars (???) for hosting an infidel spacecraft!

To out do ISRO , Bilawal Bhutto of Pakistan is planning a rocket to the Sun (???) He is now managing Bajaj engines to power the flight.His scientists are presently figuring out how much to tilt the rocket to get it kick started? Any guesses?

Narendra Modi is also being credited by the RBI for smart economics.The timely fine of Rs 100 crore on ex CM, Jayalalitha lowered the effective cost of the MOM to Rupees 350 crore!This has found favour with the credit rating agencies & India has been upgraded from it present status of “negative”!

Coming to the Amul Ad/ topical on Magalyaan or the Mars Orbiter Mission.It captures the ISRO feat of putting the Mangalyaan in Martian orbit.It depicts the Amul Girl in a space suit & in a Superman like pose she is guiding the speeding “Mangalyaan” towards Mars, which is seen in the background.

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The Tag Line…Mangalkhaana..is a spin on the name of the spacecraft “Mangalyaan (Mars-craft)” . “Mangal” in hindi has two meanings.It means the planet Mars & also means Auspicious.And the word “Khana” has been used to depict the Amul butter as being equally pleasant & auspicious as the ISRO achievement.

The Punch Line..MOMs love it..is a take on the anagram of the Mars Orbiter Mission & is a subtle endorsement of the Amul butter as being the favoured choice of mothers for pampering their children with generous dollops of the yellow delight!

Amul had previously commemorated the start of the mission too.

ISRO MARS

In the midst of all the accolades the real significance of the mission lies in the future exploration & eventual attempts to colonise outer space for its resources.Mars is flush with Methane & the leading nations already have their sights on the resource.ISROs success implies that the neighbouring countries will not make a beeline for China to assist in launching satellites & this has massive security & economic implications. ISRO has contributed immensely through remote sensing & now the MOM will further stabilise its credentials for additional financial commitments to explore outer space.It is definitely a feat worth commemorating & has invigorated young minds to take up scientific studies.

The most unbelievably low cost of USD 74  Million was achieved by keeping the Mangalyaan payload down to 15kg, compared to the complex MAVEN payload, to complement and not duplicate what the other missions to mars already have in and around Mars.In conjunction with the Maven and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express, Mangalyaan will provide a three point measurement of the research on methane and the presence of methane producing microbes on Mars.

So,India simply played it smart ! And for NYT,whether you like gatecrashers or not,  snake charmers have now mastered the fourth rock from the sun…and can teach you a thing or two as well !

NYT has since retracted the controversial cartoon & apologised as well.Reality Bites…or should i say..Moos (like a cow)!

19 December 14

ISRO and its team of scientists have made a major breakthrough.The space agency has achieved the successful launch of the GSLV Mk III.The launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, in Sriharikota on 18 December 14 of the heaviest Indian rocket,also known as LVM3/CARE, was carried out to validate the complex atmospheric flight regime of the suborbital experimental mission.Its two solid S 200 engines and a liquid L110 engine performed as expected.The rocket also carried a passive (non functional) cryogenic upper stage.This has brought ISRO closer to carrying out the first development flight with a functional C25 Cryogenic stage,also known as Cry engine or cry stage.Success of the LVM3-X will ensure heavier payloads of up to 4 tonnes for Indian satellite launch vehicles and will eliminate the need to depend on foreign agencies to launch such satelites.

The CARE stands for Crew Module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment.This module was integrated in the upper stage of the rocket and separated at approx 126 km and after 730 seconds splashed in the Indian Ocean at a controlled speed of 7m per second.The success of the CARE module in meeting all flight and re entry parameters augurs well for the future.And thirty years after Rakesh Sharma, India is now definitively closer to putting together its first manned mission to space.

Success begets success and after Mangalyaan each leap is now bigger than the previous one.